What did people feed chickens in the old days?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by morelcabin, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    All this 'pellet' feed can't be the best thing we can feed our birds. Scratch is apperently a treat...BUT what exacly did people feed chickens before everything became so processed? Organic pellets are highly over rated I think, and expensive. Is there another option anyone knows of?
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I believe that I understand your thinking and am somewhat in agreement. But, you should realize that many folks 100+ years ago, didn't feed their chickens anything. The birds could scavenge things around the farmyard sufficient to stay alive and produce a little meat and eggs that the farm families valued.

    Here's what one of the foremost poultry authorities was suggesting that people feed their chickens back in those days. This booklet is from Oregon State University and doesn't take long to download after you click on "View/Open."

    Honestly, it is all good information and I don't think there's much that even the modern authorities would find objectionable.

    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
  3. panner123

    panner123 Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    Well, I don't go back a hundred years
    just close. With the knowledge my grandfather gave me goes back to his grandfather, 1830 he arrived from Holland. I do give my chickens pellets, but mostly they live off the land. They get all the leftovers from the garden and the table. In the winter they get all the corn they can handle for warmth. They love it when my son brings them crickets or other bugs. I can't start the tractor without them running as if the devil was after them. Heaven forbid I turn over an old dead log on the hill.
    The ants and termites don't stand a chance. So basically, if you have the land just let them feed themselves with some added treats. With the number of critters I have a ton of food per month doesn't go far.
  4. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    they fed them corn an wheat.as well as veggie scrapps.an any other crops they grew.
  5. jorgey

    jorgey In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2008
    My parents (about 30 to 40 years ago) feed our chickens wheat. I grew up on a farm in Alberta, Canada so we always had 40 to 60,000 bushels of wheat at any given time. They would supplement a little bit with some laying mash on occasion and a little oyster shell, but it was 99% wheat and that was it. We mostly had RIR's and they grew and produced eggs like crazy. Unfortunately a long with everything else, the price of wheat has gone up almost 400% since last summer.
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    They either didn't feed chickens or they threw them whatever spilled grain they had (either whole or milled).

    Even today, you can have chickens and not feed them. They will 'survive' on their own, it's just a matter of will they thrive? It obviously depends if you're in a small city lot where there is no forage, or a farm where other animals spill their feed and the chickens glean what they can.

    I guess if you want optimal egg production and health, you ought feed. If you have a bunch of roosters who you don't need to breed anytime soon, they will probably do fine on their own. Just obviously look for signs of malnutrition or stress.
  7. Winter

    Winter In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    I will let you know how it goes, but I plan on feeding my urban chickens home made chicken feed rather than layer crumbles. My feed will be alfalfa pellets, dried peas, wheat, corn, barley, BOSS, seaweed, dried fish, flax seed.....basically grains plus alfalfa, BOSS and dried fish for protein. I also plan on giving them all table scraps.
    I am using tiny dried fish from the asian market since I can't find a source of straight up fish meal. I am also using salt+mineral mix from the feed store as part of the pre-mix. Should be interesting....
  8. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    Hmmm, Thanks for the ideas, I know a farmer here that gave me a big bale of hay with lots of some kind of seeds in it (perhaps wheat, not sure) and my hens gobble it up like crazy. I am going to try mixing grains and fishmeal, along with worms from the composter I am planning on starting. I will keep an eye on them and see what happens:>) They do get table scraps now...Thanks so much
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  9. Winter

    Winter In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    Where are you getting your fish meal? I tried finding some but have had no luck so far....
  10. morelcabin

    morelcabin Songster

    Feb 8, 2007
    Ontario Canada
    I haven't got any yet but i am sure the local feed stores should have it. I have 4 different feed store here, one of them should be able to get it. Maybe the garden store? If it is the same kind...that you can feed livestock with

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